HONG KONG, Dec. 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Cigna's
(NYSE:CI) International Markets business today published the fourth
edition of its COVID-19 Global Impact Study, which reveals that
people are increasingly worried about the long-term impact of the
After enduring months of lockdowns, changing restrictions and
multiple waves of COVID-19, people around the world are
increasingly uncertain and concerns for the future are rising.
Almost half of people (48%) said uncertainty about the future is
their biggest cause of stress and a similar number, 45%, said they
don't have a financial safety net if they lose their jobs or are
unable to work.
Around a quarter (26%) of people are now confident that they can
maintain their standard of living, more than half of people (54%)
have slashed unnecessary spending, and 39% of people have made
permanent changes to how they manage their finances.
Well-being reaches record lows
In the UK, a sharp rise in cases during November caused
well-being indicators to crash by 2.8 points, its lowest level
since the beginning of the pandemic. While scores in Singapore, Taiwan and New
Zealand also reported record lows, despite zero or very low
case counts in those markets. Similarly, Spain fell close to its record low reported at
the peak of the first wave of infection.
The gloomy picture in New
Zealand and Taiwan, where
the index plummeted by 2.2 and 3.3 points respectively, is
surprising, given that both markets are perceived as having been
successful in controlling the virus. Financial concerns loom large
as 55% of New Zealanders and 64% of Taiwanese fear a negative
impact on their financial situation. Similarly, 43% of New
Zealanders and 49% of Taiwanese have doubts about maintaining their
standard of living.
Jason Sadler, President, Cigna
International Markets said: "At the outset of the pandemic we saw
well-being indicators improve as people focused on 'making the best
of it'. However, as the pandemic has become normalized and
people sense light at the end of the tunnel, we see them looking at
what the long term impact will be, with real fears about their
financial future emerging."
A more balanced attitude to life, work and health
Globally, the preference for a flexible approach to work is
evident. 54% of respondent would prefer to work from home at least
half the time. However, in territories where workers have returned
to offices in large numbers there have been substantial increases
in the percentage of people who would prefer to always work from
the office - from 18 to 29% in Mainland China, 17 to 31% in Hong Kong and 30 to 37% in Taiwan.
This is mirrored by a feeling amongst 61% of those who are
working from home that their productivity has dipped over the last
month - highlighting the longer term impact of the situation.
This is most pronounced in Asian markets (Hong Kong 80%, Korea 67%, Mainland China 62%
and Thailand 62%) vs. Western (UK
56%, USA 53% and New Zealand 52%).
There is also an overall increase in recognition of the
advantages of the office environment. 46% of global respondents
cited more effective communication face-to-face; 37% highlighted
better team collaboration; and 33% said it improved their time
management - suggesting that the home working revolution may not be
as dramatic as many suggested earlier this year.
However, there is a more permanent shift in how people will
manage their health. 65% of respondents say they care more
about the healthcare services they have access to; over a third,
34%, said they will do more exercise than they did before; and 30%
of people have changed their approach to managing mental
Continued appetite for virtual health
Widespread adoption and usage of virtual health services,
initially driven by social distancing measures, is another facet
set to outlast the pandemic. Six in ten people (59%) are
likely to use virtual health services if given the option, while
29% now view it as their preferred option.
Jason Sadler continued: "The
success of remote working has been a bright spot among the
challenges we faced over the past year, but we're seeing more
people recognise that the physical workplace offers benefits which
the virtual world cannot. We also see a major shift in how
people access healthcare - with many now far more comfortable with
accessing care through virtual means - a trend that is now being
reflected in health systems worldwide."
U.S. bucks the trend
While perceived well-being declined worldwide, in the U.S. it
was a very different, more positive picture, with the well-being
index improving by a remarkable 2.6 points. Respondents reported
significant improvements in their feelings of health and
well-being. They felt growing confidence in their current financial
situation, job security and longer term needs like meeting medical
and housing needs. For instance, the percentage of Americans who
were optimistic about maintaining their standard of living rose
from 32% in August to 42% in October while those saying they had
good career development increased to 64% from 52%.
Jason Sadler concluded: "We're
entering a new phase in response to the pandemic, one where it will
be important for organizations to support their workforce by
offering tailored healthcare programs that cater for a wide variety
of perceptions and experiences across the globe. They need to be
sensitive to the fact that the experience of employees differs
considerably between markets and they need to provide solutions
that truly address that."
Click here to download the Cigna's COVID-19 Global Impact
Study - 4th Edition
To download our previous reports please visit:
Click here for the Cigna COVID-19 Global Impact
Study - 1st Edition
Click here for the Cigna COVID-19 Global Impact Study -
Click here for the Cigna COVID-19 Global Impact Study -
How the study was conducted:
The Cigna COVID-19 Global Impact Study is an ongoing study that
has been conducted by Cigna, in partnership with Kantar, between
January and October 2020, and will
continue for the remainder of the year. To date, more than 23,000
online interviews have been conducted across Mainland China, Hong
Kong, Korea, New Zealand,
Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, United
Arab Emirates, United
Kingdom and United
The study was conducted using an online survey, with respondents
recruited from online panels and undergo rigorous quality control.
Age, gender and residing city quotas were set based on the
population proportion of respective markets. The 20 to 25 minutes
survey was completed anonymously.
Cigna Corporation is a global health service company dedicated
to improving the health, well-being and peace of mind of those we
serve. Cigna delivers choice, predictability, affordability and
access to quality care through integrated capabilities and
connected, personalized solutions that advance whole person health.
All products and services are provided exclusively by or through
operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including Cigna Health
and Life Insurance Company, Cigna Life Insurance Company of
New York, Connecticut General Life
Insurance Company, Express Scripts companies or their affiliates,
and Life Insurance Company of North
America. Such products and services include an integrated
suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral
health, pharmacy, vision, supplemental benefits, and other related
products including group life, accident and disability insurance.
Cigna maintains sales capability in over 30 countries and
jurisdictions, and has more than 170 million customer relationships
throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links
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